Jefferson senior Tyler Shrider follows the flight of the ball on a pitch versus Spencerville Thursday afternoon at Spencerville. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
Jefferson senior Tyler Shrider follows the flight of the ball on a pitch versus Spencerville Thursday afternoon at Spencerville. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)

SPENCERVILLE — It was easy to point out the key to the Jefferson at Spencerville Northwest Conference baseball contest Thursday night.

The top of the second inning.

That was when the visiting Wildcats scored eight times en route to an 8-4 victory.

Down 3-0 to start the fateful frame, the Wildcats (9-8, 3-0 NWC) did the damage to Bearcat southpaw Thad Ringwald. Consecutive singles by Brendan Herron (center), Jordan Boop (right) and Hunter Haehn (infield hit) loaded them up. Two outs later, the floodgates open. Braxton Scalf worked a free pass to score Herron and a single to left by Brett Mahlie plated Boop. A 2-run slash to center by Jacob Boop got Haehn and Scalf home for a 4-3 edge.

Jace Stockwell’s hard shot that deflected off the pitcher loaded the sacks and a bases-loaded double to deep center by Herron made it 7-3. On the play, lightning was spotted and resulted in a 50-minute delay.

Upon the restart, Herron stole third and scored on an infield hit by Jordan Boop. Haehn singled to right but Ringwald finally got the final out of the second.

The Bearcats (6-8, 2-2) tried to answer in the home half against Herron. With two down, Damon Blair walked, Brady Nolan was safe on an error and Brady Becker walked to load the bases.

Darnell Simpson led off the Wildcat third with a bunt single and took second on a 1-out fielder’s choice.

Herron beat off a tough-hop infield hit with one down in the upper fourth and advanced on a wild pitch. After Jordan Boop walked, a wild pitch moved them both up with two outs.

Jacob Meyer walked with one down in the Bearcat fourth and stole second.

Jacob Boop bunted his way aboard to start the Jefferson sixth and advanced to second (1-out passed ball) and third (Herron groundout).

Luke Market legged out an infield hit to third with one down in the home sixth but he was eliminated on a grounder by J.T. Thiery; an error on the relay saw Thiery head for second but an alert backup play by Stockwell saw the second throw the runner out at second for a double play.

Meyer singled to left to open the Spencerville seventh. Two outs later, he stole second, took third on an error on the sequence and scored on a wild pitch. Becker singled into left to finish Herron, bringing the left-handed freshman Scalf to the mound. He fanned Thad Ringwald for the final out.

Mahlie opened the game with a free pass but was forced at second on a Jacob Boop grounder. An out later, Boop was caught stealing by Spencerville catcher Becker.

The Bearcats got three runs in the home half. Meyer led it off with a walk from Jefferson starter Tyler Shrider, burgled second, reached third on a 2-out wild pitch and scored on a single to right by Becker. A wild pitch put Becker at second. Ringwald walked and a balk moved both runners up. A wild pitch plated Becker. Chandler Kahle worked a base-on-balls and a single to left by Kale Lee got Ringwald home and finished Shrider (for Herron).

“We tried to go with Tyler as the starter but he had some arm stiffness; Brendan came in and pitcher very well. He didn’t have a lot of time to warm up, so the delay didn’t hurt him that bad,” Jefferson head coach Doug Geary explained. “The key was our defense made plays behind our pitchers; Spencerville was putting the ball in play and we had to make the plays. Offensively, we had a similar inning last year against them; we did whatever we had to to score those runs. They are our rivals, so maybe that’s what it takes.”

Jefferson hosts Ada Friday in a makeup game.

“That’s been our trend this season; we have that one bad inning and we can never answer totally. The thing was, they did all their scoring with two outs, which makes it worse,” Spencerville head coach Shane Falke explained. “We’ve been hitting the ball well all year but today, it was right at people, whether it’s a liner, a pop-up or a fly ball. That usually takes an inning to get warmed up but once that happens, he just runs with it. We just need to clean up some things and keep working.”

Spencerville hosts Shawnee in a doubleheader Saturday.

JEFFERSON (8)

Brett Mahlie ss 3-1-1-1, Jacob Boop cf 4-1-2-2, Jace Stockwell c 4-1-1-0, Brendan Herron 1b/p 4-2-3-3, Tyler Schrider p 0-0-0-0, Jordan Boop 1b/rf 3-1-2-1, Hunter Haehn 3b 4-1-2-0, Darius Shurelds 2b 2-0-0-0, Caleb Lucas 2b 2-0-0-0, Darnell Simpson lf 4-0-1-0, Braxton Scalf rf/p 2-1-0-1. Totals 32-8-12-8.

SPENCERVILLE (4)

Jacob Meyer 1B 2-2-1-0, Damon Blair ss 2-0-0-0, Austin Gallimore ph 1-0-0-0, Brady Nolan 3b/p 4-0-0-0, Brady Becker c 3-1-2-1, Thad Ringwald p/rf 3-1-0-0, Chandler Kahle rf/3b 2-0-0-0, Kale Lee lf 3-0-1-1, Luke Market 2b 3-0-1-0, J.T. Thiery cf 3-0-0-0. Totals 26-4-5-2.

Score by Innings:

Jefferson 0 8 0 0 0 0 0 - 8

Spencerville 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 4

E: Stockwell, Haehn. DP: Jefferson 1. LOB: Jefferson 6, Spencerville 7. 2B: Herron. SB: Meyer 3, Herron. CS: Jac. Boop (by Becker).

IP H R ER BB SO

JEFFERSON

Shrider 0.2 2 3 3 3 1

Herron (W) 6.0 3 1 1 3 3

Scalf 0.1 0 0 0 0 1

SPENCERVILLE

T. Ringwald (L) 6.0 12 8 8 3 7

Nolan 1.0 0 0 0 0 0

WP: Shrider 3, T. Ringwald 2, Herro. Balk: Shrider. PB: Becker. BB: Meyer 2, Mahlie, Jor. Boop, Scalf, Blair, Becker, T. Ringwald, Kahle. Pitches-Strikes: Shrider 31-15, Herron 98-50, Scalf 3-3; T. Ringwald 114-77, Nolan 7-5.